Organizations spend millions of dollars each year trying to get their employees to be less absentminded. Businesses shell out significant funds for planning software and systems. Administrators tack up signs and send out emails reminding employees to fill out their timesheets, enroll in benefits programs, or prepare for meetings. And of course, individuals personally wrestle with overcoming forgetfulness.
We have found that some of the costly digital and paper memory jogs widely used to solve the problem of forgetting could instead be replaced with a stuffed alien toy. Perhaps some explanation is in order. Bothered by our own memory failings, we wondered if connecting an intention that could easily be forgotten (such as returning a library book) with an eye-grabbing cue—such as that stuffed alien—that would be visible at the appropriate time might improve follow-through. And it does, as we report in a recent paper in Psychological Science.
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